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13 of the Most Instagrammable Places in Venice, Italy

Sept. 16, 2017
16 min read
Italy, Venice, Elevated view of canal in city
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So, Kim Kardashian, think you have a lock on Instagram fame? Well, no lady was ever as Instagrammable — or had more generous curves — than La Serenissima, "the most serene republic" there ever was: Venice. This crossroads of east and west at the northern fringe of the Mediterranean has always had the unique power to cast spells, and rightly remains among the most popular tourist spots in Italy. With 118 islands linked by more than 400 bridges — and graceful gondolas still plying all those sinuous, palazzo-lined canals — there's seriously enough beautiful stuff here to break the internet in any season. Andiamo!

1. Ponte dei Sospiri (Bridge of Sighs)

This little bridge's reputation is far bigger than its actual size, but it's all about location: Built in 1602, it connects the Doge's Palace with the old prisons on the other side of the narrow canal. Which doesn't mean it can't look romantic on Instagram.

2. Scuola Grande di San Rocco

While Venice has 139 churches that are repositories of great art, it’s also worth exploring the Scuole Grandi, flamboyant buildings that used to be the homes for charity and social service centers back in the days of the Republic. The ceiling of the 16th-century Scuola Grande di San Rocco, in the San Polo district, is adorned with so many Tintoretto canvases that mirrors are available to help you inspect them in detail.

3. Venice From a Plane

The only thing cooler than taking the water shuttle from Venice Marco Polo Airport (VCE) across the lagoon into the city is catching a glimpse of the Queen of the Adriatic from your plane window. Try to get a seat on the right.

4. Palazzo Soranzo Van Axel

It may be cliché to say that Venice is a city of mysteries, but it's so true. Behind every grand palazzo façade, there are centuries of stories. And even if yesterday's palace is not a museum today, that doesn't mean you shouldn't peer behind alluring entrances. Secret courtyards often have unique architectural elements and are sometimes adorned with ancient objects — some pilfered from Constantinople (now Istanbul) by Venetian merchants of old. The late-Gothic Palazzo Soranzo Van Axel is one example: Completed in 1479, it's located in the Sestière of Cannaregio.

5. Ponte di Rialto (Rialto Bridge)

One of Venice's most iconic spots is this stone arcaded bridge over the Grand Canal, built at the end of the 16th century when the area was a commercial center — the sturdy bridge connects the San Polo and San Marco sides of town. It was so strategic a spot that competition for the bridge commission included Andrea Palladio and Michelangelo — Antonio da Ponte's proposal, which included room for little shops in the interior, eventually won out.

6. The Grand Canal

Here's to the most brilliant antidote to every traffic jam you've ever been in. Any time of day or night, Venice's Grand Canal is pretty much magic. Snap a picture from just about anywhere — popular vantage points include the top of the Rialto Bridge, from the front of Santa Maria della Salute church or while cutting across the canal in a traghetto, or mini-gondola.

7. Little Canals

Just aim your phone anywhere. Venice has done the heavy lifting for you. Hint for slaying the 'gram: Snap a picture of a fancy old building's reflection in the still canal water in front of it, then go loco on the filters. Prego.

8. The Swimming Pool at Hotel Cipriani

The only sad part about the canals of Venice is that you can't swim in them. That's where the legendary Belmond Hotel Cipriani, located at the tip of the Giudecca Island, comes into play. Take a refreshing four-minute boat ride to the hotel from the private pier at the edge of Piazza San Marco. The bar and restaurants here are Old Europe at its best and the swimming pool is epic; someone told me George Clooney once took a refreshing dip in it with all his clothes on — let’s hope he wasn’t drinking a Nespresso at the time.

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9. Scala Contarini del Bovolo

The unusual "staircase of the snail" affords some unusual views of the reddish Venetian rooftops. It's located by little Campo Manin, not far from Piazza San Marco, and is a hybrid of Renaissance, Gothic and Venetian-Byzantine styles. The palazzo it's a part of dates from the 15th century, while the staircase itself, which looks a bit like the Leaning tower of Pisa from the outside, was used as a location for Orson Welles's 1952 film adaptation of Othello.

Venice is simply unique #natgeotravel #natgeo #tours #bibletours #enchantingjourneys #venice

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10. Piazza San Marco at Acqua Alta

With the Doge's Palace and iconic Campanile, Piazza San Marco embodies Venice in any season. To take its Instagrammability to the next level, just add water. Acqua alta occurs when the water in the Venetian lagoon rises high enough to spill onto the piazza pavement. A great time to get reflective — and make a splash on IG.

11. Chillin' on the Zattere

The Piazza San Marco may be the Times Square of Venice — with a lot fewer cars and way more pigeons — but it's so imposing that it doesn't really make for a relaxing stop. For that, cross the wooden Ponte dell'Accademia to the Dorsoduro district and head to the Zattere promenade, where you'll catch the sea breeze from the broad Canale della Giudecca. To take it to the next level, work on an Aperol spritz at one of the cafés or ice cream from Gelateria Nico.

12. Anything Artsy That Grabs Your Attention

Venice is most celebrated for its historic art treasures, but it's a force for contemporary art, too, and that sometimes uneasy alliance can make for unanticipated Instagram gold. Lorenzo Quinn's sculpture, Support, gave the illusion of shoring up a storied hotel from the Grand Canal (the giant resin-covered foam hands were tethered by pillars that extended to the bottom) and is no longer on display, but seek amazing modern art in Venice and ye shall find.

#canalgrande #art #lorenzoquinn #venice #installation #hands #support #italy #biennale #artwork

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13. St. Mark's Basilica

One glimpse of St. Mark's Basilica will confirm what you already know: Venice doesn't do minimalism. What for Mark Twain was a "vasty warty bug taking a meditative walk" is for architecture hounds a captivating (if garish) aggregate of the medieval, classical, Byzantine and Romanesque styles. The cathedral dates from the 11th century, when it was built to protect the bones of Saint Mark, which, according to folklore, were pilfered from Egypt and smuggled here in a barrel of pickled pork. The gold ground mosaic works are richly detailed with religious motifs and the museum inside houses the four original bronze horses, more than 2,000 years old, of which replicas are mounted on the façade.

What are some of your favorite places in Venice to Instagram? Tell us about them, below.

Featured image by Getty Images/RooM RF